On 15 and 16 September, I attended the first conference of the Greenwich Maritime Centre (GMC) at the University of Greenwich in London. The GMC was founded just a few months ago and hosted this conference to share perspectives of maritime issues across diverse subject areas.
My own presentation about maritime security and the ‘blue economy’ in West Africa was part of a panel under the topic ‘Governance, Law and Security’. It highlighted the links between maritime security and the development of the maritime economy, a key area for development on the African continent and one of my research interests. One of the most important aspects was the fact that pirate attacks against merchant ships and kidnappings of crew members have been the most headline-grabbing incidents in recent years, even though other issues such as smuggling or IUU fishing have a much bigger impact on coastal countries.
Overall, the GMC members organised a very interesting conference that combined a broad range of maritime subjects. Presentation topics ranged from naval history to fisheries tourism and the role of cyber security in maritime operations. It was a highly successful first step towards establishing the GMC as one of the most important centres for multidisciplinary approaches to societal awareness of maritime issues.